I have decided to accept the challenge of Amy Johnson Crow over at No Story Too Small blog. Amy challenges us: 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks. I think this is an excellent challenge as I tend to focus on my brick walls, and this will force me to fan out in my tree and focus on other ancestors.
Please meet my grandfather, William “Bill” John Parks. Known by everyone as Bill, but known to me and my brother as Daddy-O. Week six and my sixth post in the challenge.
That is how I remember him the most, so that is why I picked that picture to start out with.
My grandfather came into this world with a very rocky start. His mother died ten days after giving birth to him, which you can read all about that here on Sympathy Saturday – Helen Roleke Parks. Born to John Triggs Parks, and Helen Roleke Parks, Daddy O was born on 5 Sep 1915 in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother, a Dr. herself, was one of the very first women to have a C-Section, “a new and radical procedure” at the time, and she would not survive as the Dr. clipped her bowels during the surgery.
This is the earliest picture I have of Daddy O, and his grandfather, William Roleke is holding him.
According to my mother, before his father J.T. remarried Missie Sweatt, her father was raised by his father, an uncle and an aunt. I found this to be supported by the 1920 census. Living with his Widowed father, J.T. Parks, his uncle Henry Parks, his aunt Mary Parks, and two cousins, Earle and Roy Mann.
My mother said for this time period, his main caregiver was his aunt Mary Moore Parks, whom never married. Unfortunately, Mary would pass away in 1921. This is a picture of Daddy O with his aunt Mary Parks.
Sometime before the 1930 census, his father married his stepmother, Missie C. Sweatt and she would go on to love him and raise him as her own. She and J.T. never had children of their own, so Daddy O was an only child.
In 1930, I find them living in Amarillo, Texas, Daddy O, J.T. and Missie as well as Karl Roleke, Daddy O’s maternal Uncle.
J.T. was an oil man and at that time, so was Karl Roleke. According to my mother, sometime between the 1930 census, and when he married my grandmother in 1935, my Daddy O was so bad, Grandad Parks (J.T.) sent him to Roswell, New Mexico to the military school there. I have not sent off for the records or tried to research this, but I will do that one day.
Here are a couple of picture of my grandfather taken in the 1920′s or 1930′s.
They moved from Amarillo, to Miller Co., Arkansas and somehow Daddy O met my grandmother on a blind date, and they eloped two weeks later and you can read about that here on Ground Hog Day Elopement, and Wedding Wednesday – Bill and Mary Parks.
In 1940, they lived in Garland, Miller Co., Arkansas on Granddad Parks’ farm, with J.T., Missie, Daddy O, Poo, and my mom, Mary Helen. You can read about this farm here, on The Old Barn is Gone.
After this they moved to downtown Texarkana, and lived in “The Big House” on 4th and Walnut. This is a picture of the house.
As you can see, there is a little house out to the side of the Big House, and this is where Daddy O and Poo lived. Most of the time, my mother stayed in the Big House, with Grandad and Nanny Parks.
During WWII, Daddy O enlisted much to the dismay of my grandmother. He joined the Army and went away for two years and you can read a little about that here, on P.S. Hang on to your pants cause here I come! This is Daddy O during that time.
After the war, my mother and grandmother went to the train station to pick him up, and they walked right past him and didn’t recognize him. He was very thin, his teeth had rotted out and he had been through pure “Hell”. He told my Dad some stories about his time in Japan, but I never heard them first hand. My Dad has a sword that Daddy O brought home, Daddy O said he got it off a dead Japanese solider.
That’s my mother holding the sword, it’s not a good picture, but you get the idea.
After the war, Daddy O and Poo settled into a good life. This photo is from 1955 and I love it. Poo, Daddy O, and Mom.
I love this picture, it was a vacation and there I was sitting right on his belly! Hugging him was like hugging a teddy bear!
Daddy O and Poo traveled quite a bit, they even went to Jamaica once. Daddy O drove a truck for East Motor Freight Co., in Texarkana, Arkansas and after he retired, they moved out to Millwood Lake in Ashdown, Arkansas and they lived there until he died. My brother and I visited many times.
This is Daddy O with my brother John.
There was a Marina at Millwood Lake, and if you know me you know I am a picky eater, but Daddy O would give me a dime to eat everything on my plate, and then he would take me to the Marina, and I would get to get a bag full of candy for that dime. He always cooked me meatloaf because I would eat that. Oh, and BTW, he did all the cooking, he loved it. Anyway, this is him in the Marina.
Daddy O was very sick for a while before he died. He was diabetic, and he had emphysema. He was on oxygen and became very ill. They were transporting him by ambulance in 1978 from Texarkana to Little Rock to the VA Hospital, when a big flood came up. My grandmother and Aunt Dorothy were in the car behind them, but somehow they got separated. The ambulance sat so long in water, it ran out of oxygen and had turned around and they took him back to Texarkana.
My Dad had to go and find Poo and Aunt Dorothy (Ball) Johnson and they were panicked. There were no cell phones at the time, and not knowing where they were was very scary. Their car had at times filled with water over their feet. They were both a nervous wreck. Dad brought them home and by that time, Mom found Daddy O back in Texarkana. After the weather settled down, they brought him up to the VA and I got to see him one more time before he died. I remember being very scared about all the tubes they had in him.
I was only seven years old when he died, and I was devastated! This is me at seven years old, and do you notice the green plaid stool on the far right of the photo?
The day Daddy O died, I remember laying on that stool and crying for what seemed like hours and hours. John stomped from the living room all the way up the stairs and stayed in his bedroom and wouldn’t come out. He was especially close to Daddy O and it was very hard for him, he was twelve years old.
I had the best grandparents a kid could ask for.
His passing was extremely hard on Poo, and she was never the same “Nonnie” I knew before he died. But, now they are together, no doubt, living it up and dancing down the streets of Gold.
This is how I descend from Daddy-O.